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Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:38 pm
by Shelley
Hi All ...

We've often had discussions regarding the risks associated with entering "traditional" poetry in open competitions - especially when free verse seems to be favoured by judges who are not associated with the bush poetry community.

Recently I discovered (by chance at the 11th hour) an open written poetry competition being run in conjunction with the Kenilworth Arts Festival - in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland here in Queensland. I didn't have a lot of entry options, given the line limit and other conditions, but I'd written a poem earlier this year for the Adelaide Plains "Freedom" themed open competition. The poem, titled "Facets of Freedom" wasn't successful at Adelaide, so I decided to throw it in.

I had little expectation of success, as these types of Arts Festivals usually favour visionary or abstract poems with very open structures. However, last week I received a phone call to say my poem had won the competition! So, amazingly, as we've seen with a few writers this year, it is possible to make an impression "on the outside", so to speak.

My poem won't be reproduced on the ABPA poetry page, as the competition is outside the ABPA spectrum, and also the poem can't be classed as "bush poetry", because its subject is global in focus, not specifically Australian. So for the interest of forum members, I'm posting it here. As you can see, it has a very simple structure and rhyme, relying on its content to make the impact.

FACETS OF FREEDOM
(c) Shelley Hansen 2017

On a street filled with terror a little girl cries.
Dusty tracks of her tears frame the fear in her eyes
as around her in blood pools her family dies
and the flames lick the skies.
What is freedom? she sighs.

In the heat of a workroom for eight hours a day
there are young men who earn just a dollar in pay
beating gold leaf for temples where worshippers pray.
They know no other way.
What is freedom? they say.

Stolen children in countries of riot and rout
are conscripted as soldiers – machine guns to tout,
and are brainwashed to think that each act is devout
till they no longer doubt.
What is freedom? they shout.

On the dark side of midnight young kids on the brink
sell their bodies for drugs in a world black as ink.
Then in filthy back alleys, surrounded by stink,
they shoot up and they drink.
What is freedom? they think.

In the houses of shame that are not what they seem
battered wives cuddle children, suppressing the scream
of their desperate longing for hope’s shining beam
while their raining tears teem.
What is freedom? they dream.

The oncology ward holds its patients who bask
under radium’s glow, as each medical task
is performed by a faceless nurse wearing a mask
with a chemo-filled flask.
What is freedom? they ask.

As for you – you inhabit a house you won’t own,
and you work day and night just to offset your loan.
Taken over by email, attached to your phone
in the corporate drone.
What is freedom? you moan.

All the world is enslaved as the whole human race
lurches headlong, unknowing, increasing its pace
while the earth, everlasting, moves onward through space.
On this planet, our place …
Will we find what we chase?

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:23 pm
by Brenda Joy
A very powerful read that tentacles into the world's real problems. Congratulations Shelley and thanks for being able to succeed with a rhyming (if unusual) structure.
BJ

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:59 pm
by Shelley
Thanks so much BJ :D

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:07 pm
by David Campbell
Congratulations Shelley, that's a very strong message on a variety of fronts. Not easy to do with that structure, either, and I'm guessing the structure is partly responsible for helping it to stand out among a whole lot of free verse entries. It's a very encouraging result for those of us trying to make inroads into these open competitions with rhyming verse.

Cheers
David

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:48 pm
by Shelley
Thank you so much David :D

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:44 am
by Maureen K Clifford
Love it - a worth winner I would be thinking given the ground it covers - congratulations Shelley

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:33 pm
by Shelley
Thanks Maureen - much appreciated :D

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:19 pm
by Jeff Thorpe
Superb Shelley, both the poem and it's impact against free verse writings.

Regards, Jeff

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:56 pm
by Shelley
Thanks so much Jeff .... really appreciate your comments.

Re: Rhymed and Metred Poetry in Open Competitions

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:00 pm
by Terry
Congratulations Shelley

How the heck do you find all these comps?

Terry